The next day what John Page calls Blackberry Winter weather and had warned me to expect continued as we ran up the Rappahanock to the town of Tappahanock and anchored on the flats below town. We were greeted by a pair of police boats that hoped we were the originators of a distress call that had been broadcast earlier. We'd heard the Coast Guard radio announcement of the call earlier and had been on the lookout. Hope it worked out okay.
Our mission on the Rappahanock was to use our the story of our loop to help further the work of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Chesapeake Conservancy. These two superb organizations have done amazing work to protect the bay and steward the Captain John Smith National Historic Water Trail. The Conservancy has just released an app Boaters Guide to the Chesapeake which I loaded on to my phone and was delighted by how simply I could access such an array of information. The CBF and the CC are part of a coalition working together to protect Fones Cliffs, a spectacular 4 mile stretch of sandstone bluffs that are critical eagle habitat and the site of an historic Indian attack on the John Smith expedtion. Libbey and I had the pleasure of hosting Joel Dunn CC's Executive Director, Peter from his staff, a newspaper reporter and Pam from Virginia Public Radio. Bill Portlock from CBF and John Page escorted us in their Boston Whalers and Bill took some great photos of the outing. Looking forward to seeing the media coverage and will share links when I get them.
After saying good bye to our guests we ran back down river to the mouth of Wilna Creek and firmly planted our new Rocna anchor in the river bed. A good night's sleep was had by all.
Blackberry Winter continued the next day and since we'd missed the soft shell crabs in Urbanna we decided that lunch in a warm restaurant really beckoned. The Virginia Street Cafe is locally famous for their soft shells and we had a terrific leisurely late lunch. We anchored in the creek in town for the night.
Our destination today was the Patuxent River. To get there we'd have to cross the 7 mile wide Potomac River mouth, a river mouth that frequently gets rough when wind and tide are opposed. We made our first attempt late morning. Seas were already at 3' and breaking before we cleared the bar at Smith Point so we decided to tuck into the Little Wicomico River and wait for conditions to improve. Fortunately the weather buoy at the river mouth is monitored and reported hourly by NOAA weather radio. When we heard wind speed had dropped to 8 knots and the current was slack we knew it was time to go. We planed across the river and up the shore to the Patuxent arriving well before dinner time and finding a sheltered anchorage on Mill Creek.
Winds of 15-20 knots with gusts to 30 were in the forecast for the next day so we just moved a few miles up river to St. Leonards Creek. We fished a bit along the way and at anchor but despite marking a lot of fish on the fish finder we had no bites.
As I sat in the cabin working on this blog that after noon I heard a splash and a yell. Admiral Peary had done a swan dive off the wheelhouse roof and was scrambling to get back aboard. He wasn't getting back aboard quick enough to suit Libbey so she jumped in to give him a hand. She held him up and I scooped him aboard with the landing net. I'd left the cabin door open so of course he has to run in there dripping water over everything except luckily my computer and camera. A scared cat and a wet wife but no real damage.
Today we ran from the Patuxent to the Rhode River just south of Annapolis. Tomorrow we'll be hosted at the East Point Yacht club and will be sharing stories with John Page and his friends.
John Page invited us to lunch at CBF and kindly loaned us his truck to do a grocery run. We ran from CBF to East Point Yacht Club and tied up for the night. After a great dinner of fish tacos and crab cakes washed down by Loose Cannon IPA (a great local brew) we shared our slides and stories with three very experienced and delightful boating couples.
5/11-14 Running Hard
We woke to a cold drizzle and knowing we have to return to the Chesapeake for a much more serious exploration we decided to put some miles behind us. We ran up the bay and were across the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal by 1:45 pm. Knowing Delaware Bay's reputation as a potentially snotty crossing we decided to take advantage of the flat seas and make the 56 mile run (or 52 mile run if you straight line the bay instead of following the ship channel). We entered the canal at Cape May and motored a few miles to Sunset Lake, a prosaic name for a heavily built up lagoon. This has been the longest mileage day of the trip-133 miles.
Our next big crossing is the 26 mile open water run from Manasquam Inlet to Sandy Hook then 10 miles across New York Harbor into the city. Weather looks doable for Saturday morning so we decide to take 2 days to poke across the 100 remaining miles of the NJ ICW. The first day is surprisingly pretty with lots of big marshes full of birds. Condos and summer homes to be sure but with more visual relief than expected.
The second day was big open water-Great and Barnegat Bays. With the wind expected to pipe up in the afternoon we elect to put the boat on plane and ran for Port Pleasant. A quick stop for lunch and a walk at the Brielle Yacht Club and we were ready to anchor. By mid after noon we're anchored out in a pool known as the Glimmer Glass. Side by side summer houses surround us but we have a big flock of brant for company.
As predicted this morning was calm as glass and we're running by 6:15 a.m. By 10 a.m. We were anchored off Liberty Island sipping on coffee and photographing the statue. After a leisurely brunch we headed up the river in a building southerly breeze, the sort of wind that manages to follow the river's twists and turns. By mid afternoon we were able to find good cover behing the Stony Point National Historic Landmark. Hard to believe we're within a 100 miles of where we started in Troy NY.
We're Steve and Libbey from Whitefield, Maine. We're launching this blog as we start our attempted circumnavigation of America's Great Loop in August 2015. We'll be traveling living aboard our 24' Maine lobster style boat the Laughing Gull